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Council “Pre-Capitulation” Slammed

To the Editors:

October 3, 2011

The progressive rap on Barack Obama is that he lacks a fire in the belly to take on the large, monied interests, and that he “pre-capitulates” on important issues by taking solid, progressive positions off the table before negotiations even begin. The result is that the will of the people is thwarted and the big-money contributors are really the ones calling the shots.

Whether this knock on the President is true or not, one can see a vivid – and cravenly pathetic – local example of “pre-capitulation” positioning simply by glancing at the Santa Monica City Council Report concerning the future of the Santa Monica Airport.

In a nutshell, the report sums up the City’s steps thus far – and its plans for the future – in considering changes in the use of the Airport in light of the fact that the lease between the City, which owns the property on which the Airport sits, expires in 2015. These changes purportedly range from shutting the airport down entirely to doing absolutely nothing.

But a quick read of the Report suggests that the Council has already begun the Barack Back Slide into capitulation to the money men who control the Airport and very much want the status quo maintained, to the detriment of the health and contrary to the desires of a majority of the citizens of the City.

If one wants a hint of the direction the City is leaning, one need go no further than the very first section of the Report, which discusses in glowing – almost gushing – terms the historic importance of the Airport, which the City has taken to calling the “Airport Campus” (that’s like calling a slaughterhouse the “Porcine Campus”).

The Airport, you would think by reading this part of the Report, is a national landmark on par with The Alamo or Ellis Island, rather than a polluting saftey-risk that spews toxic fumes and unbearable noise – and the all-too-frequent fatal plan crash – into an otherwise lovely City. I suggest that when the Report begins telling you how important the Airport is to some historic view of the City, you don’t need a weatherman – or Airport wind sock – to know which way the wind blows.

The next dead give-away derives from the title of the second section of the Report, called “The Legal Constraints Established by Federal Law,” in which the City tips its hand to those who would oppose any change to Airport usage, let alone shutting it down. The Report laments the money the City spent in an unsuccessful bid to restrict certain jet traffic and weepingly analyzes the potential for litigation if the City were to attempt to shut the Airport at the end of its lease.

This gutless pre-litigation capitulation basically sends the message to the Airport operators, “oh, don’t worry, fellas, we don’t have the cojones for a real fight, so after a few hearings in which the overwhelming majority of Santa Monican’s will voice their many objections to the Airport, we’ll ignore those meaningless clods, roll over and play dead for you so that your flight schools can continue to buzz neighborhoods, and your jets can dump aviation fuel fumes over tens of thousands of people so that a few millionaires can avoid the lines at LAX. Oh, and if a couple of small planes smash into homes from time to time, well, that’s just the price you pay for progress.”

Hey, Barak, are you listening to this crap? If you need any more cowardly advisors enthralled by the power of rich folk, they’re here in Santa Monica just waiting for your call!

The Report is a sham. While it purports to be a reasoned evaluation of an issue on which reasonable persons can disagree, it is nothing more than a pre-capitulation rubber-stamp of the wishes of a City Council which always has and always will be a tool of developers and monied interests, at least until such time as political contributions are controlled and the elective process in Santa Monica shifts from at-large to district voting, so that regular citizens – you know, school teachers and firemen, landscapers and store clerks, surfers and senior citizens – have a real voice in the governance of this City.

The lackeys who now occupy the Council wouldn’t know an honest – or brave – decision-making process if it bit them on their respective hind-quarters. If this sort of disgusting “we’re afraid of the Big Guys!” thinking enrages or at least alarms you, think about attending the City Council meeting this Tuesday, October 4th, at City Hall at 6:30 pm and let your voice – pro or con – be heard.

William Fordes
Santa Monica CA

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